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The Netherlands 2035 - Living in nature
Design by Romy Snijders | Model Fleur Snijders

SYMBIOTIC FUTURES

A vision of the future in which we explore the language of trees through fungi and live in symbiosis with the forest.

All week at stichting BioArt Laboratories | Strijp T+R By Romy Snijders

SYMBIOTIC FUTURES is a vision of the future in which we explore the language of trees through fungi and live in symbiosis with the forest. The designed tools would allow us to listen to the communication between trees. Insight in this communication can help us improve environmental health.

The Anthropocene is defined by us humans having a dominant impact on the climate and the environment. The disconnection of humans and the rest of nature is an essential part contributing to our planet’s destruction. This disconnection has to do with the concept we have of nature. If stories of human exceptionalism brought us to where we are today, might stories about living in symbiosis with nature bring us to a better future? This project explores one of those stories by using speculative design.

Fungi have networks of long threads hidden underneath the soil called mycelium. These networks form the internet of the forest and allow trees to communicate with each other. We explore:
1. Which trees are communicating?
2. What are they communicating?
3. What does that mean?

Tool #1 Is attached to trees. The tool traces the incoming and outgoing communication of the tree. It shows which trees are connected and whether the tree is sending or receiving information.

Tool #2 is plugged into the mycorrhizal mycelium hotspot that is connected to the trees that are communicating. The detected signals are transformed into a soundscape that can be heard and recorded.

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Romy Snijders

Romy is a Dutch multidisciplinary designer. Her work combines design, art, science, engineering and culture. She is passionate about challenging people’s understanding of the world to shape a positive future. She has a very holistic approach to design, allowing her to work on the very complex and wicked problems we face today. She holds a BSc Industrial Design from the Delft University of Technology and a MA/MSc Global Innovation Design from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London.